The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion filed by Making a Murderer subject Brendan Dassey regarding his release from prison.
Dassey’s lawyers claim he is being held unconstitutionally after the court vacated his murder conviction in the 2005 death of Teresa Halbach.
The motion for bail was denied Wednesday by the same three-judge panel that upheld the 2016 ruling that the confession Dassey gave to police in the Halbach case was coerced. His legal team, led by Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin of Northwestern University, have been working on Dassey’s appeal for 10 years. They successfully argued that investigators Mark Wiegert and Tom Fassbender made false promises to Dassey, then 16, when they interrogated him for more than three hours without his parents or lawyer present.
The court also ruled that the officers disregarded that Dassey had an IQ of less than 80. His will was overborne and Dassey did not understand the ramifications of the questioning, the court ruled.
Dassey recanted his confession but was convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse.
The Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office is currently appealing the ruling and is expected to push for an en banc review of the panel’s findings. The state also has the option to take the case to the United States Supreme Court.
The state could also retry Dassey without the 2006 confession. However, Attorney General Brad Schimel claims the confession was voluntary and that his conviction should stand. Schimel announced earlier this week that he would not agree to release Dassey until his attorneys successfully argue in front of the full appeals court.
A retrial in the case is not likely as nothing outside of the confession ties Dassey to Halbach’s murder. All the physical evidence in the case links Dassey’s uncle Steven Avery to the crime, evidence Avery has maintained was planted by the real killer and members of law enforcement to frame him.
Wednesday’s ruling means Dassey will remain in prison while the state continues to fight for the conviction. Schimel must file a motion for an en banc review within 14 days. There is no set timetable of when a hearing date will be scheduled or if the court will grant one.
Should Manitowoc County officials Lt. Lenk and Sgt. Colborn have involved themselves in the Halbach case? pic.twitter.com/PqMQrDYBKB— Making A Murderer (@MakingAMurderer) February 16, 2016
Last week, the court ordered the state to release Dassey or retry him within 90 days. The state has argued that it has 90 days from the date a decision is handed down from the full appeals court, not from the day of the three-judge panel ruling. The appeals process could keep Dassey behind bars for at least another year.
Laura Nirider has not responded to Wednesday’s ruling.
The Inquisitr will have more on this story as it develops.
[Featured Image by Bruce Halmo/AP Images]